Saturday, July 7, 2007

Studying? Here? Seriously?

In between naps, checking gmail, and running, I'll be studying for our Czech Film History exam on Monday, which comes right after a 6 hour editing session that Leah and I must cram into Monday morning. Awesome.

I did get to tour the Loreto today, but sadly, no photographs allowed. Inside the almost 400 year-old church were some of the most beautiful statues and paintings I've ever seen. Because I'm too cheap to buy the audioguide, I always like to do some research ahead of time. Here's what I learned:

The building of the most famous Czech Loreto was inspired by a so-called saint cottage in the Italian town of Loreto. The saint cottage symbolizes the poor dwelling in Nazareth where Gabriel the Archangel preached to the Virgin that she would bear the Son of God.

Kateřina of Lobkowicz, wife of Vilém Popel of Lobkowitz, initiated the construction of the Loreto in 1626, inspired by the Italian Santa Casa of Loreto. The Capuchins took over the administration of the pilgrimage site. They built the first monastery in Bohemia in the neighborhood of the Loreto. After the Chapel of the Nativity was enlarged, it became the largest sanctuary of the whole Loreto complex.

The Baroque bell tower and the treasury with the Loreto treasure are world-famous. The most precious item is a diamond-encrusted monstrance, caller the Prague Sun. An octagonal tower with a dome and a lantern on the top rises above the front facade, in which 30 bells of the Loreto chimes are hidden.

Unfortunately, it looks like no one (at least on Google images) has been able to get inside and snap photos. One of the most amazing sites the church offers, besides the still active carillon, is a room called the "treasury." Although upon entering, I was a little apprehensive. The blue velvet walls, the white ceiling encasing hundreds of giant bulbs, and the tightly enclosed, rectangular shape gave this vault an unpleasant coffin effect. Not for the claustophobic. But what the treasury did offer was some of the most incredible and insane amount of jewels and ornate Catholic artifacts. There were countless statues of the cross or figures of Jesus or crowns for the Virgin Mary decked out in the largest diamonds and precious stones that I'll ever see. The majority of it was from the 1600s, though I did find some things dating back to the early 1500s. Seriously, where did they get their money from back then??

Time for a run, have a good weekend :)

No comments: